History of the Advent Calendar 

  • The origin of the Advent Calendar can be traced back to the 19th. Century. The first styles came from the protestant area. So religious families made a chalk line for every day in December until Christmas Eve. 
  • Shop online for antique Advent Calendars here
  • The first known Advent Calendar which was made by handwork is from the year 1851.

    Other early styles were the Adventclock or the Adventcandle - a candle for each of the 24 days until Christmas, like todays Advent wreath. So in religious families little pictures were hang up on the wall - one for each day in December. An other tradition was to paint chalk strokes on the door, one per day until Christmas Eve.

    In 1902 a Christian Bookshop in Hamburg published a Christmas Clock which was very similar to that published 1922 by the St. Johannis printing company. (Dominik Wunderlin, lic.phil. Swizzerland). The Austrian (NÖ) Landesmuseum is giving the year 1903 as the year of the first printed Advent Calendar. In 1904 an Advent Calendar was inserted in the newspaper "Neues Tagblatt Stuttgart" as a gift for their readers.

    In contrast to the above Esther Gajek says that the first printed speciem was made in 1908 by a Swabian parishioner, Gerhard Lang (born 1881 in Maulbronn, Germany -died in 1974).

    When he was a child his mother made him an Advent Calendar with 24 "Wibbele" (little candies) which were sticked on a cardboard.

 
 
 
  • Later Lang was a participator of the printing office Reichhold & Lang. He produced little colored pictures which could be affixed on a cardboard at every day in December.
  • This was the first printed Advent Calendar, although without windows to open, published in 1908. This Calendar was named "Christmas-Calendar" or "Munich Christmas-Calendar". At the beginning of the 20th Lang produced the first Advent Calendars with little doors to open.

    At this time as well the Sankt Johannis Printing Company started producing religious Advent Calendars, with Bible Verses instead of pictures behind the doors.

    The Advent Calendar started a triumphal way around the globe. But Lang had to close his company in the thirties. Until that time he had produced about 30 different designs.

    The World War II terminated the success of this German tradition. The cardboard was rationed and it was forbidden to produce Calendars with pictures. The first printed speciem after the war were printed by Richard Sellmer in 1946.

    We know that Advent Calendars filled with Chocolate was already available in 1958.

    Please visit our Online-Museum
    showing historic Advent Calendars
    Advent Calendar Museum

Richard Sellmer History
Advent Calendar Cathedral Place